Cells efficiency of 18%


 Nines Photovoltaics announced today that in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE they have demonstrated solar cell efficiencies of 18% by applying their Atmospheric Dry Etching (ADE) texturing process in a standard industrial ALBSF multi-crystalline solar cell manufacturing process. The ADE technology provides an efficient texturing process that lowers the front side reflectivity of the cell, allowing more light in and therefore generating more current. They have been working on cell process integration with the Fraunhofer ISE team, where their development tool is currently located. This efficiency uplift follows a number of previous increases, obtained with several tier one Asian cell manufacturers since the beginning of the year. The ADE process provides industrials with not only an efficiency gain but a highly competitive CoO for large scale production through the use of on-site etching gas generation. The atmospheric nature of the process (non vacuum), allows for higher throughputs than currently possible and enables in-line processing. The ADE tool applies the texture only on one side of the wafer, facilitating integration of the technology into a PERC process by providing surface decoupling without any additional etching/polishing/masking step. The texturing process uses chemistry compatible with all type of silicon wafers, including mono-Si, multicrystalline Si (mc-Si) and cast wafers.

Furthermore, Nines PV have demonstrated with a number of tier one customers that their texturing process works equally well on diamond wire cut wafers. Texturing has been the main barrier  hindering the entry of this technology  into the mc-Si market. The ADE technology will enable this change, and the significant associated cost benefits.

“Although this is a good milestone for us, further improvements will be made as we optimise the process ” said Laurent Clochard, CTO of Nines PV; “The market pull from the mc-Si cell and wafer manufacturers has been strong since Nines first positive demonstration of the ADE technology toward the end of last year”.

The ADE offer targets wafer and cell manufacturers that are looking to scale their operations to and beyond the GW scale.

“The potential of ADE to reduce cost and improve efficiency is significant, especially when integrated with other upgrades; it also allows for more flexibility as it is 100% compatible with any silicon wafer platform including PERC” added Edward Duffy, CEO of Nines PV.

Marc Hofmann, Group leader at Fraunhofer ISE stated that “the ADE technology allows for the integration of novel wafering technologies and cell structures as it does not require a certain crystal orientation or defect density as starting point for the etching process.”

Bishal Kafle, scientist working on the ADE process at Fraunhofer ISE, added: “Additionally it applies the etching mechanism almost fully single sided, for example, leaving the rear side of the solar cell flat. This opens the path for higher efficiencies of PERC and other advanced solar cell concepts.”

Nines PV is currently going through evaluation with multiple customers, and are in advanced talks with a number of strategic partners in order to fulfil the needs of the company to grow and meet market demand.


Nines Photovoltaics is an Irish SME specialised in advanced equipment manufacturing and process development for the PV industry. Based in the Synergy Centre on the Tallaght IT Campus in Ireland, the company is led by Edward Duffy CEO and Laurent Clochard CTO.


About Fraunhofer ISE:

 With a staff of close to 1300, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, Germany is the largest solar energy research institute in Europe. Fraunhofer ISE is committed to promoting sustainable, economic, safe and socially just energy supply systems based on renewable energies. Its research provides the technological foundations for supplying energy efficiently and on an environmentally sound basis in industrialized, threshold and developing countries throughout the world. Focusing on energy efficiency, energy conversion, energy distribution and energy storage, the Institute develops materials, components, systems and processes in twelve business areas and offers accredited testing facilities and other expert lab services to clients. The Institute is a member of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization. For more information, visit us at www.ise.fraunhofer.de


If you are interested in contacting Nines or would like to work with the team please send an e-mail, including a detailed CV, to info "at" nines-pv.com

Nines Photovoltaics
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